Overcome tough opponents Kingswood

St. Peterís continues incredible rugby journey

By M Naushad Amit
A spirited response in the second half helped St. Peterís overcome their biggest threat in the ongoing season when they downed Kingswood College by a thumping margin of 45-29 in a Presidentís Trophy Singer Schools Division I A rugby league match played at Bambalapitiya yesterday.
Though Kingswood executed their game plan perfectly in the first half to maintain a close 17-14 lead, St. Peterís regrouped to make the much needed comeback and expand their undefeated record for the season. Their sixth straight win in the competition will help them stand as clear contenders to claim the league title. St. Peterís collected their points through 7 tries and 5 conversions against Kingswoodís 5 tries and 1 conversion.

The match which was crucial for both sides eventually gave the high-riding Peterites a further boost for their remaining encounters in the league. However, Kingswood who stands next to St. Peterís at No.2 in the league sent an early warning by dominating the first 10 minutes of the game to divert the pressure on the home team. In the 11th minute of the game Kingswood stunned the entire St. Peterís camp by drawing first blood through centre Mohamed Fazly who ran through the Peterite defence to score a try which was converted by second centre Thilina Weerasinghe. Six minutes later Kingswood winger Prabath Jayalath scored a spectacular try in the left flank of the field as they expanded the lead further to 12-0. Kingswood enjoyed most of the first half which was under their control for almost 30 minutes until St. Peterís lock forward Shenal Dias gave his team the much needed inspiration by barging through to score an under-the-post try which was easily converted by fly half Dulaj Perera to trail 12-7. In the 35th minute Kingswood took their lead further to 17-7 when their skipper and fullback Rajitha Sansoni ran almost half the field to score an unconverted try on the right flank. In-form centre Dhanushka Ranjanís brilliant zigzag run through the Kingswood defence gave St. Peterís their second try five minutes later which Perera converted to close in at 17-14 by half time.

After the turnaround the Peteritesí approach to the game took a rather different turn with an attacking plan. In the 42nd minute they were rewarded with a penalty try after winger Sandun Herath fell victim to a dangerous neck tackle by a Kingswood defender who was sin-binned. With Pereraís conversion St. Peterís took the lead in the game with the score at 21-17. Within three minutes the lead expanded to 28-17 when skipper and No.8 Keith Gurusinghe finished off a superb maul with an under-the-post try which was converted by Perera. Six minutes later prop forward Chathuranga Mendis joined the party by scoring the fifth try for St. Peterís as they gradually took control of the game by extending the lead to 33-17. Kingswood who was never ready to give in retaliated at this point with a try in the 55th minute through scrum half Mohamed Afzal, which was converted by Weerasinghe to cut down the deficit to 33-24. As the game drew to a close Kingswood regrouped to make a late comeback but the Peterites were much stronger in possession and went on to add a further five points through lock Dias in the 63rd minute to lead 38-24. Five minutes from the final whistle Kingswood scored through winger Danushka Wijesinghe to stand at 38-29 and in the final minute Peterite centre Ranjan crossed the line and Perera added extra points to finish the game 45-29.
D Nimal refereed.


Royal soundly beaten by Pathana

Royal failed to carry the inspiration of providing a surprise shock to St Peterís last weekend (losing 22-20) when they were soundly beaten 27-5 by Isipathana in their Presidentís Trophy Singer Schools Division I A rugby league match played for the Milroy Fernando Trophy at Havelock Park yesterday.

Isipathana who showed vast improvement following two defeats at the start of the league recorded their fourth straight win to regain the trophy after a lapse of a year. They scored 4 tries out of which 2 were converted and a penalty against Royalís solitary try.

Winger Uresh Fonseka and prop forward Danushka Sooriyarachchi scored tries for Isipathana in the first half with fullback Malik Jumad converting the second try for them to lead 12-0 lead at half time.

Royal opened scoring in the second half through lock forward Madusha Kularatne who scored the only points for them. Isipathana continuing with their improved style of play made the least number of mistakes and limited Royalís control of the game only for a few minutes. They regained their composure to control the rest of the match. They scored two more tries through scrum half Mohamed Rizwan and centre Kovinda Wimalachandra. Jumad converted one of them and also put over a penalty to finish the game in style. Pradeed Fernando refereed. - [MNA]


Asanga assured of SLRFU presidency

Asanga Seneviratne, the former Thomian cricketer and Sri Lanka ruggerite is set to become the newly elected president of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) when the second stage of the farcical AGM is held tomorrow (Monday).
Forty-five-year-old Seneviratne was the likely candidate to succeed former president Nimal Lewke one and a half years ago, but a chain of adverse events that followed two weeks before the AGM led to the Minister of Sports appointing an interim committee for the first time in the 100-year-old history of the Union to administer the sport.

The past 18 months under the interim administration has seen the countryís rugby going into a state of despondency leading to a division in the membership of the SLRFU so that the AGM had to be postponed twice for the lack of a quorum. On the third occasion it went ahead with the election of the rest of the office-bearers sans the president and secretary and three committee members who will be elected at Mondayís meeting.
With the International Rugby Board (IRB) breathing down the neck of the SLRFU and the Ministry of Sports with the threat that unless an elected body is in place Sri Lanka would stand to lose the international grants and their membership with the world body, a haphazard election of sorts took place on May 21 probably to appease the IRB that some effort was being made to have an elected body in place.

The rugby fraternity at large is of the opinion that Seneviratne with an unblemished record for playing it clean is the man to uplift the drooping standards of rugby in the country. He is assured of getting at least two-thirds of the votes although there are moves by people with vested interest to bring in another individual from the forces to contest him at the AGM.

These people who have no love for the game are trying to bring in individuals who will be a mere puppet at the helm allowing them to run the game the way they want for their own benefit. Sri Lanka rugby should not fall into that trap but elect a genuine person of stature who can uplift the status of rugby in the country from the nadir it has fallen into.


Finn forces Bangladesh onto the back foot

LONDON: Steven Finn continued to enhance his reputation with an impressive spell and James Anderson claimed a confidence-boosting brace as England reduced Bangladesh to 223 for 6 after the rain moved away on the third day of the first Test at Lordís on Saturday.
Finn had been the pick of the attack on Friday and gave the hosts an early lift when he removed the stubborn Junaid Siddique for 58, opening the door in helpful conditions which left Bangladesh struggling to save the follow on
It wasnít until 3.20pm that the players managed to take the field and England were clearly keen to take advantage of the overcast conditions. Finn was given his favoured Pavilion End and it didnít take long for him to strike as extra bounce did for Siddique who couldnít withdraw his bat in time as he tried to leave.
Scores: England 505;
Bangladesh 172-2 contd 237-7 (81.5) (Junaid Siddique 58, Jahurul Islam 20, Shakib Al Hasan 25, J Anderson 2/61, S Finn 4/75).


Antonians upset Trinity

By M Minhas in Kandy
St. Anthonyís, Katugastota upset all calculations when they pulled off a stunning 18 (3 tries, 1 drop goal) to 15 (2 tries, 1 conversion, a penalty) win over favourites Trinity in their Presidentís Trophy Singer Schools Division I A rugby match played at Nittawela yesterday. At half time St. Anthonyís led 10-0.

However, Trinity is likely to lodge a protest as they claim that the first half was played eight minutes short. In fact both schools protested to the match commissioner WDO Wijewansa that the first half was played eight minutes short. The match commissioner who was timing the encounter said that according to his stopwatch, the play was nine minutes short. But referee Priyantha Nawaratne discounted all this and said that the match was played according to the time maintained by him and that the first half was of correct duration.

The Antonians made their intentions clear from the kick-off when they kept attacking and this paid rich dividends as it resulted not only in scoring but also put the Lions on the defensive. They opened scoring as early as in the 6th minute of play when centre Dilum Jayawardena pierced the Lionsí defence to score far left much to the jubilation in the Eagles camp. This try went unconverted.
In the 16th minute a desperate clearance by Trinityís fullback Kanchana Ramanayake was smothered by St. Anthonyís No.8 Sanka Rajaguru who followed the loose ball and scored mid-left. This try too was unconverted as St. Anthonyís led 10-0.

There was a lull in scoring in the period of play which followed as play see-sawed from one end to the other and the defence of both teams held. But in the second half Trinity changed their pattern of play. Their forwards put up a fiery display with skipper and hooker Damith Dissanayake going over to score far right. Kanchana Ramanayake failed to add the extra points.

Spurred by this success the Lions once against played with all ferocity and were rewarded when No.8 Shannon Armstrong powered his way to touch down near the posts. Ramanayake added the extra points and Trinity for the first time lead 12-10 and the game was thrown open. In the 12th minute of the second half an Antonian defender was spotted off side and Ramanayake made no mistake with the penalty kick for the Lions to increase their lead to 15-10 and the game transformed in favour of the Lions.

But the Eagles fought back with tenacity and they made strong in roads into the Lionsí territory and on one such move winger ID Ariyapala made a strong run and scored mid-left for an unconverted try. The scores were level at 15-all. In the 23rd minute Antonian fullback virtually performed the magic when he found the Lions fortifying their territory and decided to go for the second option available to him when he executed a peach of a 30-metre drop goal which helped them to regain the lead at 18-15. The Lions could have still drawn this match had not fullback Ramanayake fluffed a penalty kick at goal from short range.


Thoras stall last ditch attempt by Rajans

S. Thomasí College, Mount Lavinia, despite a last ditch challenge by Dharmaraja College, scored a comfortable 45 points (5 goals, 2 tries) to 22 (1 goal, 3 tries) win in their Schools Singer trophy under 19 Division One rugby tournament match played at the Bogambara Stadium, Kandy yesterday. At lemons the Thomians led 28-0.

The first half saw the Thomians exerting their maximum power on the Rajans which resulted in four tries which were all goaled. But the Rajan fight back came in the last minutes of play after the Thoras had drawn the full quota of seven substitutions from the bench which ended with the home team scoring four tries. One of which was a brilliant 90-metre run by winger Anura Ekanayake who intercepted a pass and ended up touching down under the post.

The Thomians completely dominated play in the first half when winger Anuradha Willawara opened scoring with a try near the posts and this was converted by full back Dervin Jayasinghe. More tries followed through the efforts of skipper and No. 8 Rajindra Gunasekera, winger Jeremy Fernando and Jayasinghe goaled all three for the Thomians to run up a comfortable 28-0 lead by lemons.
In the 10th minute of the second half Willawara ran 35 metres and scored near the post and Jayasinghe added the extra points. Five minutes later, flanker Sherwan Kapuwatte scored mid-right and this went unconverted. Thomians were in an unassailable position leading 40-nil.

It was in the 20th minute of this half that Rajans opened their account when their No. 8 Sathsara Basnayake barged over mid-left for an unconverted try. Rajans trailed 5-40.
But six minutes later winger Jeremy Fernando ensured that their 40 metre lead was intact when he plunged over mid-right and this try went unconverted. Thomians led 45-5.
It was at this stage that the Rajans decided to take the fight to their opponentís camp and narrowed the victory gap of the Thomians. Basnayake scored twice after the forwards had done the ground work and next it was the 90-metre piercing run by Ekanayake and one of which was converted by stand off Rochana Hettiarachchi for the Rajans to go home with satisfaction of restricting the Thomians to a 45-22 victory thus salvaging their pride after the 0-40 lead which they conceded at one stage of the game.
A. Rankothge refereed. (MM)